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Inpatient and outpatient treatment for acute malnutrition in infants under 6 months; a qualitative study from Senegal

Background: Treatment of acute malnutrition in infants under 6 months is a relevant topic regarding the global problem of maternal and child malnutrition. While treatment for older age groups has shifted more towards an outpatient, community based approach, young infants are mostly treated in hospital. This study aims to describe barriers and facilitators for outpatient and inpatient treatment of malnourished infants under 6 months in Senegal. Methods: This qualitative descriptive study uses in-depth interviews with health workers and focus group discussions with mothers of malnourished infants, conducted from June to September 2015 in two case clinics. In data analysis, Collins’ 3 key factors for a successful nutrition program were used as a theoretical framework: access, quality of care and community engagement. Results: Within Collins’ 3 key factors, 9 facilitators and barriers have emerged from the data. Key factor access: Outpatient care was perceived as more accessible than inpatient concerning distance and cost, given that there is a milk supplement available. Trust could be more easily generated in an outpatient setting. Key factor quality of care: The cup and spoon re-lactation technique was efficiently used in outpatient setting, but needed close supervision. Basic medical care could be offered to outpatients provided that referral of complicated cases was adequate. Health education was more intensive with inpatients, but could be done with outpatients. Key factor community engagement: The community appeared to play a key role in treating malnourished young infants because of its influence on health seeking behaviour, peer support and breastfeeding practices. Conclusions: Outpatient care does facilitate access, provided that an affordable milk supplement is available. Quality of care can be guaranteed using an appropriate re-lactation technique and a referral system for complications. The community has the potential to be much engaged, though more attention is required for breastfeeding education. In view of the magnitude of the health problem of young infant malnutrition and its strong relationship with breastfeeding practices, an outpatient community-based treatment approach needs to be considered.

Auteur(s) : Tabitha D. van Immerzeel1* , Maty D. Camara2, Indou Deme Ly3 and Rosemarijn J. de Jong4
Pages : 1-10
Année de publication : 2019
Revue : BMC Health Services Research
N° de volume : 19:69
Type : Article
Mise en ligne par : DIAGNE Maty